Skip to content


Heise Award

Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award

The Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was named in honor of Helmuth and Evelyn Heise, founders of Will O' the Wisp and Wisp Resort, Maryland's only downhill ski resort. The Heise Award is given to one business owner each year that has shown similar entrepreneurial qualities. The criteria for nomination include the following:

  • Open to business owners including partners/families that originated, developed, and/or significantly expanded business
  • Willingness to take risks with possibility of losing all
  • Involved in the community
  • High ethical standards
  • Nominee must be a member of the Chamber of Commerce
  • Demonstrated leadership (through one or more of the following): 1) By overcoming a formidable problem that threatened the business’s existence 2) By showing business acumen through embarking on a creative, insightful or overlooked opportunity that makes important contributions to Garrett County’s business environment 3) Through substantive community impact

The Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award Committee, composed of previous winners, will choose 3 finalists and present them to the Board with a recommended winner. Then the Chamber Board of Directors will choose the winner. The winner of the annual award is announced during the Annual Chamber Meeting & Dinner.

2022 Heise Award Winner

The winner of the 2022 Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award was announced during the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Membership Meeting & Dinner on Thursday, June 2, 2022. Martin Heise made the presentation to this year’s winners, Bill Weissgerber co-owner and associate broker of Railey Realty.

Bill’s contributions to Garrett County and the community have made lasting impressions on those who call this place home. Bill is 1976 graduate of Southern Garrett High School, where he painted the first Ram mascot on the hardwood at half court, and was later inducted into the hall of fame. His creative instincts and hardworking personality paired well with his burgeoning real estate career.

Bill began his real estate endeavors at A&A Realty in 1984, where he quickly became the top producing agent, earning multiple national sales awards. He moved to Railey Realty in 1992, earning his associate broker designation and garnering an ownership stake within the company. Bill has been a top producing agent not only in Garrett County, but also in the state of Maryland, often performing within the top 1% of agents in the state.

In addition to his busy real estate career and raising his own family, Bill carved out time to give back to his community. He assisted with coaching the Southern Garrett High Lady Rams basketball team for several years, including two state championships. Following community tragedies close to his heart, Bill started an annual event aimed at raising money for the youth of Garrett County.

In 10 years, the WGW Community Youth Cup raised more than $1M+ for the youth of Garrett County, supporting dozens of organizations in addition to Samantha Funding the Arts, Landon’s Library, and The Andrew S. Woods Memorial Scholarship. The proceeds from this annual event have helped fund the ‘Learning Beyond the Classroom’ school bus, which delivers meals and educational materials to children during the summer months. In addition to his efforts with his own event, he is also an active member on the Garrett County Regional Hospital Board and a board member for Clear Mountain Bank.

“It cannot be overstated the substantial impact Bill has had on our community. He has worked tirelessly over the years to elevate Garrett County through his work at Railey Realty, volunteering, and philanthropy. Recognizing these efforts is what the Heise Entrepreneurial Spirit Award is all about,” said Regina Sweitzer, Interim President of the Garrett County Chamber of Commerce.

Past Recipients of the Heise Award

2021 Jodi & Joe Refosco and Chad Taylor Taylor Made Deep Creek Vacations & Sales
2020 Steve Green High Mountain Sports
2019 Hugh Umbel Bear Creek Traders, Legacy Home Corp., Perkins Restaurant & Bakery, McHenry Beverage Shoppe
2018 Tom & Sara Jane Kuhn Funland Family Fun Center
2017 Nancy Railey Railey Mountain Lake Vacations
2016 Robert Heilig Heilig's Plumbing & Electrical, LLC
2015 Brian Branthoover Halian & Associates Landscapes
2014 Skip & Linda Carr CLS Ventures, Inc.
2013 Judy Devlin Book Mark'et & Antique Mezannine
2012 Frank Vitez Phenix Technologies, Inc.
2011 Jan Russell Savage River Lodge
2010 Michael Deligatti, Sr. Arrowhead, Garrett 8 Cinema, Uno Chicago Grill
2009 Bill Meagher Lakeside Creamery
2008 Brenda McDonnell Brenda's Pizzeria & Trader's Coffee House
2007 Dave & Mimi Demaree Demaree Inflatable Boats, Inc.
2006 Rob Michael State Farm Insurance
2005 Barry Rush Rush Services
2004 Will & Sharon Roszell Garrett Automotive Company
2003 Jim Flanigan, Sr. NuWay Interiors
2002  Johnny Marple Johnny's Bait House
2001 Olen Beitzel Beitzel Corporation
2000 Bill Sisler Bill's Marine Service
1999 Jonathan 'Smiley' Kessler Smiley's Pizzeria & Fun Zone
Golden Ambassador
Volunteer of the Year
Diplomat of the Year
Scroll To Top